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Email with its ubiquity, immediacy, familiarity, and simplicity has grown from a mere business communication tool to a platform for many business operations. Using your inbox and complementary tools to manage your sales pipeline can eliminate a lot of complication in the process.
Let’s look at the different stages in a sales pipeline and see how you can manage it better via email:
Stage 1: New leads
The first stage is gathering potential leads. This is a simple enough process. You find prospects in various places, on your website on your competitor’s website and gather their contact information such as their email ID.
When reach out to someone new, cold emailing someone emailing is the best way to approach since it is the most preferred form of contact for the consumers when receiving emails from companies and businesses.sa
You can set up a couple of templates ready to send for such new-found leads and share them with your team members so that there is a standardized and consistent way of approaching prospects.
Also, perfecting the art of cold emailing can help you achieve good results here. The first contact email you send to your prospect should first contact email you send to your prospect should not be too self-promotional – something like a welcome email is a good start.
The important thing is to keep your fresh leads categorized separately as the way you approach them should be different from an already engaged lead.
Stage 2: Information gathering
Not all leads are the same. Some are high priority and need a lot of attention, others relatively less. After collecting the leads, researching them and gathering data about them is the next step.
We use this information to categorize, segment, and sort them. This is where the rules, folders, and labels that email clients offer can be highly helpful.
This data will not only help you figure out how to approach lead such that you have the highest probability of success, but also understand and estimate how much of your time each lead is worth or if it is worth pursuing at all.
You can divide leads into groups – for instance, have the highly-qualified lead and easy-to-approach in one category, have the highly-qualified but hard-to-approach in another etc.
Stage 3: Make an offer
Now you have established the first contact with your lead and you also have all the data you need to approach them with the right proposal. It’s now time to make an offer.
Again, you can set up templates for different kinds of offers. For instance, if your client is a B2B company, then depending on the size of the company you can pitch your offer. If the company is small, then you can offer a simpler version of your product and so on.
The important thing to remember is the offer you make must not be absurd and should be as close as possible to what the customer is looking for. If your proposal is too out of context, then they will outrightly reject and you won’t have a good chance of convincing later either.
One advantage of using emails to handle this stage of sales pipeline is you will have all the conversations recorded for any future reference. It will also make it very easy for your team to collaborate with each other via email with the tools with features such as Shared Mailboxes.
Stage 4: Follow-up
In my personal experience, I learned that this is one of the most important stages of converting a lead. Oddly enough, most businesses give up at this stage. Once they don’t get a reply from a prospect, they just let it go cold and forget about it.
At my startup, we have seen that sometimes leads suddenly convert for the 3rd or 4th follow-up, even though they don’t respond to the initial emails.
Not following up implies leaving a lot of money on the table. Again, email is the best way to send polite reminders and nudges to your prospects. Phone calls and instant messages to follow-up can become quickly annoying; writing an effective follow-up email can pay off better.
Using features labels is a great way to keep track of things here. For instance, if you have sent the second follow-up for a lead, add a label ‘2nd follow-up’, so that when you look at the email you know you have already approached them twice.
Also, for each follow-up you set up a specific template and use them repeatedly, without wasting time on drafting a fresh email every time. Using tools that will allow you to share those labels with your teammates and collaborate effectively, can smoothen the process even further.
Stage 5: Sale
This is the final stage; the stage where the results show and the final delivery of the product/service happens.
Managing emails at this stage is quite easy. So easy that you can, in fact, automate the process. For instance, when a customer finishes a purchase, set up an automated thank you email. You can also do some upselling in these ‘Thank You’ emails, by mentioning a few other products your customer may be interested in buying as well.
With so many tools and plugins that integrate with your inbox, running business operations from your email has become a popular option. In order to manage your sales pipeline effectively from the inbox, here’s what you need to know:
- Use labels, folders, and filters to keep the inbox sorted and also to segment your leads.
- Set up templates, to make things easy and less time-consuming.
- Find avenues where you can simply automate the emails such as ‘Welcome’ emails and ‘Thank you’ emails.
- You can further simplify the process by using shared mailboxes, where your whole team has access to the inbox, and the appropriate person can deal with appropriate email.